Thursday, July 31, 2008



On the first day God said to the angels “I wish to build a universe – how do I start?” “We need architects”, replied the angels in unison.

And so it came to pass that God created architects, and blessed them with imagination, creativity, professionalism and leadership. God was well pleased with his creations. “I want to build a universe”, He said to them, “and I created you to help me”.

“Good choice, now we need a whole team of engineers”, said the architects. “What for?”, God asked, somewhat puzzled. “For all the boring bits”, the architects thought to themselves, but they said “for all of the specialist structure design, and services etc”. “You mean for all of the boring bits”, said God, perceptively.

There was much down casting of eyes and shuffling of feet, but the architects were given the engineers they needed, and the project team was ready. They decided to call the first meeting to discuss the project at hand. “How many chairs will we need?’ asked God, “can anyone here count?” “Not us”’, said the architects, “we don’t count”. “Don’t ask us”, said the engineers, “we don’t count either”. God was mightily perplexed.

“It appears that we need one more consultant – someone to count things.” God said. The project team nodded in agreement. “What shall we call him?” God asked, “the Counter of Chairs?” The assembled consultants thought that this name was a little demeaning. The angels suggested Noter of the Numerological, Manager of the Mathematical, or Assessor of the Arithmetical. What about the “Surveyor of Quantities?” asked the architects. “Perfect”, said God “I shall create a quantity surveyor”.

And so God created the quantity surveyor who was pragmatic, reliable, suitably conservative, and with a good mind for numbers. Gave also gave him all the bits of knowledge left over from creating the architects and engineers. As thus it came to pass that he was nicknamed The QS (Quantity Surveyors).

Unfortunately, after creating so many architects and engineers, God did not have a suitable image left in his warehouse. All that was left was some pinstriped suits, bowler hats, dress shirts, and desert boots.

Perturbed by his somewhat inappropriate image the new quantity surveyor stepped out into the universe. His first task was to count the number of chairs required, and he got that right (actually it was within 10%, which he thought was quite close given market factors, escalation, unforeseen items and contingencies). But there was not much else to do, so he sat in the corner … and listened. The architect set about designing the earth and, oh, it was so beautiful!! It had lots of curves, and angles and squiggly bits, with glass mountains and pastel coloured textured render, adding those magic finishing touches.

The structural engineer designed the support system. A really big skyhook (plus two spares) held up by lots of beams and bolts. Very sturdy – very safe. The mechanical & electrical engineers designed a huge sun for the middle of the sky so as to make the earth warm and bright. A smaller yellow sun in the east for the morning, a big red one in the west for the evening, and a soft grey/blue one for the night, so that people could sleep. The Architect added lots of stars for effect. And God was well pleased. “Who will we get to build this wonderful universe?” He wondered. And lo He created the builder, and asked him how long would he expect it to take to build the universe.

After 40 days and 40 nights, the builder returned with his quote.

“Not seven days, not seven weeks, but seven times seven weeks”, said the builder, “and 30,000 pieces of silver”.

God was shocked.

“But I must have it in six days and for 30 pieces of silver”, said God, “the bibles are already printed”.

He called the consultants together for another meeting and told them He was concerned that the universe was going to take much too long to build. He added that He was concerned that it was also going to cost far too much to build.

“Terrible how much it costs to build a universe these days’’ muttered the architects”. “Good design takes time to build”, agreed the engineers. There was much rhetoric and shaking of heads, and God was almost ready to abandon the project.

“It could be done quicker and cheaper”, said the QS in a small voice from his dark corner of the room. “A few changes could reduce the time and cost significantly”.

“How do you know?” the consultants all asked, “you know nothing about building universes”.

God turned to the quantity surveyor and advised him that he had been created to count chairs. God added that He was well pleased with that initial effort, recalling that the quantity surveyor had got it right (within 10% anyway). “Please tell me how I can build this universe quicker and cheaper”. “Well for a start,” said the quantity surveyor, “make the earth round. All those curves, angles and squiggly bits are too expensive. Then delete all those skyhooks. If You create gravity and orbit the earth around the sun, it will stay there without any support. Also you don’t need the smaller suns for morning, evening and night”, the QS added with an air of authority. “Yeah, right”, said the mechanical and electrical engineers sneeringly, “It will be broad daylight all of the time and no one would be able to get any sleep”.

“Not if we spin the earth around”, said the QS. “Then the sun will not be shining brightly all of the time. Also a small moon, to reflect the sun at night, would not cost that much to build. And why not create some more builders to give a more competitive price?” the QS added. Verily, with much weeping and grinding of teeth, the consultants changed the design, and God created more builders. God then asked the QS to estimate how long the project would take to design and to build, and (naturally) how much would it cost.

“Based upon the information available, along with provisions for contingencies, escalation, market factors, etc, my initial preliminary budget estimate is seven days and 35 pieces of silver”, the QS said. “Great”, said God, “that is pretty close to my budget”. After another 40 days and 40 nights, the builders returned with their quotes. The lowest price was 30 pieces of silver, to be built in six days. The quantity surveyor was delighted. “At last I have proved my worth”, he thought. But the consultants were not happy.

“You messed with my design”, shouted the architect. “You know-it-all; leave our things alone”, said the engineers (however, nobody mentioned the reduction in their fees, as they were all too professional for that).

The QS was disillusioned and confused, and he turned to God for comfort. Surely God would be happy – all that time and money he has saved. God took the QS and told him that his estimate was wrong by 14%, and God chastised the QS for calling himself a Surveyor of Quantities. And so it came top pass that the QS was banished to the desert where he spent his time talking to accountants and lawyers.

He still counts chairs, and now also bricks, doors, windows and other bits. Some have left the profession to become tax collectors. He still gets asked by the consultants to provide estimates, but they don’t often ask him to interfere with their designs, and they don’t pay him very much.
As so it came to pass that everyone was happy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

COPYCAT Tendency - a natural behaviour, but not good

The term copycat refers to the tendency of humans to duplicate the behavior of others, as expressed in the saying, "monkey see, monkey do." This notably happens in the case of suicide and murder. The term is used both for the act and for the person.

As per an article in Hindu The natural tendency to emulate what one watches is known as the “copy cat tendency” among adolescents and may have adverse consequences in the form of suicides and addiction. According to Delhi-based psychiatrist Samir Parikh the very act of observing a famous character or an eminent personality, be it in their peer group or a celebrity, and then beginning to put oneself in his shoes is called the copy-cat syndrome that is prevalent among adolescents worldwide.

Dr. Parikh says that indulgence in smoking, bunking classes, thievery and car-speeding are some of the common deeds that are the result of this syndrome. Without realising the consequences, the impressionable children blindly follow their peers, which supposedly gives them a boost.

A copycat (also copy-cat or copy cat) is a person or animal, or computer program that mimics or repeats the behavior of another. The expression may derive from kittens that learned by imitating the behaviors of their mothers. It has been in use since at least 1896, in Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Country of the Pointed Firs". The term is often derogatory, suggesting a lack of originality.

A copycat suicide is defined as a duplication or copycat of another suicide that the person attempting suicide knows about either from local knowledge or due to accounts or depictions of the original suicide on television and in other media. The well-publicized suicide serves as a model, in the absence of protective factors, to the next suicide. They occasionally spread, like wildfire, through a school system, through a community, or in terms of a celebrity suicide wave, nationally. Examples of celebrities whose suicides have inspired widespread copycat suicides include the American musician Kurt Cobain and the Japanese musician Hide. Sometimes this is known as a Werther effect, following the Werther novel of Goethe.

The copycat tendency may lead to some disaster because children with this syndrome can try anything they see on their surroundings. They may imitate the super heroes, or the visuals seen in the television. So we have to be very care full with our children to avoid such incidents. Parents can guide them so that they can get rid of this Copycat tendency.

Objective of a Quantity Surveyor

A Quantity Surveyor can identify and collate the costs involved in order to develop an overall budget for any project. They can then undertake cost planning which aims to help all members of the design team arrive at practical solutions and stay within the project budget. It is the final detailed estimate prepared by the Quantity Surveyors, in consultation with a project architect, which forms a basis on which subsequent tenders can be evaluated. Schedules of quantities translate the drawing, plans and specifications produced by the design team to enable each contractor to calculate tender prices fairly, on exactly the same basis as the competitors.

Quantity surveying as a career, is both diverse and rewarding. The roles and
responsibilities of quantity surveyors are constantly changing and evolving, as
such, QS are often referred to as Construction Economists or Cost Managers.
The responsibilities of a QS can involve, but not limited to: cost planning, life
cycle cost studies, feasibility analysis, insurance replacement cost valuation,
value management contract administration, procurement advice, due diligence

An additional role of a QS is to act as an arbitrator. As such, in the case of
construction disputes the QS is often called on as an expert witness.
High in Demand

The demand for a QS is driven by the construction and engineering industries,
as well as, increasingly by the finance and property management sectors. Due
to the ever expanding range of services that the profession can provide, the
need for a QS has been constant. In recent years, we have seen the demand
for qualified and experienced QS increasing.

Quantity Surveyor means a person educated, trained and qualified, and who is particularly and regularly engaged, for the purpose of livelihood, in the following work:

The preparation of Bills and/or Schedules of Quantities of materials, labour and services required in the construction and equipment of building, or engineering works, and;
The preparation and valuation of progress and final payments in connection with any contract or sub-contract, and;
The appraisal of the value of proposed constructions or other structures already erected, and;
The preparation of specifications when required so to do, and;
Acting as arbitrator in cases of dispute in connection with building, or engineering work, when required so to do, and;
To advise from time to time on cost management, or value management.
To carry out such other duties as may properly be those of a Quantity Surveyor.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quantity Surveyor - Lot of job opportunities waiting all over

A Quantity Surveyor (QS) is a professional person working within the construction industry. The role of the QS is, in general terms, to manage and control costs within construction projects and may involve the use of a range of management procedures and technical tools to achieve this goal.

A quantity surveyor would play a key part of any building project, managing the costs from the early design plans right through to the building's completion. As a quantity surveyor your main priority is to make sure that projects meet legal and quality standards, and that clients get good value for money.

Typical tasks may include:

Managing costs on a wide variety of new building projects and structures, such as residential developments, sports stadiums, roads and bridges, schools, hospitals, offices and factories;

Providing advice on contractual claims;

Valuing completed work and arranging payments;

Developing knowledge relevant to contract conditions and their applications;

Maintaining awareness of the different building contracts in current use;

Understanding the implications of health and safety regulations.

Working with consultants

Preparing tender and contract documents (normally as per the FIDIC Conditions of Contract), take of quantity (normally using POMI, Principles of Measurements International) and making Bill of Quantities as per the specification and drawings.

Undertaking costs analysis for repair and maintenance project work;

Preparing early stage budgets and detailed cost plans;

Performing risk and value management and cost control;

Advising on procurement strategy;

Identifying, analysing and developing responses to commercial risks;

Preparing and analysing costings for tenders;

Establishing and operating cost and financial control systems;

Working with Contractor

Take of quantity and making Bill of Quantities as per the specification and drawings.

Sending the enquiry to the subcontractors for different types of works

Reviewing the quotations and making bid summary.

Allocating work to subcontractors;

Negotiating with the subcontractors ensure budgets are not exceeded;

Making the monthly payments to the subcontractor for the actual work done.

Making monthly valuation for Submitting to client.

Making variation orders for the changes due to the drawing or specification changes.

Re-conciliation of Submitted variation order with Client's Quantity Surveyors.


UK & Worldwide .....Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

UK & Worldwide .....Institute of Civil Engineering Surveyors (ICES

USA & Worldwide... International Cost Engineering Council (ICEC)

Australia ...................Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS)

Canada ......................Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS)

China .........................China Engineering Cost Association (CECA)

Hong Kong.................Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS)

India ..........................The Institution of Surveyors (INDIA) (ISI)

Ireland...................... Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCS)

Jamaica ....................The Jamaican Institute of Quantity Surveyors (JIQS)

Kenya ...................... Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK)

Malaysia ..................The Institution of Surveyors, Malaysia (ISM)

New Zealand........... New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NZIQS)

Nigeria..................... The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors{NIQS}

Pacific & Asia...........Pacific Association of Quantity Surveyors (PAQS)

Singapore.................Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV)

South Africa........... Association of South African Quantity Surveyors (ASAQS)

See the wiki article here